Users of hallucinogens put themselves in great danger. Hallucinogens can cause psychological damage, and often lead to issues because of their reality-distorting effects.
Consequences of Hallucinogens Use
Hallucinogens are highly variable substances that produce varying effects from person to person and because of the significant variations in amount, potency, and composition of the active compounds, they are highly unreliable and dangerous. The psychoactive chemicals alter thoughts, sensory perceptions, emotions, and consciousness. There are two main hallucinogen categories:
- Psychedelic hallucinogens cause hallucinations where sensations appear unreal including; psilocybin (magic mushrooms), LSD, mescaline (peyote), and PCP.
- Dissociative hallucinogens cause the user to feel disconnected from self and reality including: Ketamine, DXM, and Salvia, and PCP.
Synthetic hallucinogens such as PCP, LSD, MDMA, and other designer drugs are illegally manufactured in a variety of ways with a multitude of different compounds that cause a wide range of dangers. Even dealers on the street are increasingly, having these drugs tested before selling them because of the extreme danger potentials.
Hallucinogen Tolerance, Dependency, and Addiction
Hallucinogens have different effects in the brain and most have a quick tolerance that is short lived. Increased doses before tolerance is eliminated causes adverse effects such as psychosis or overdose. Physical dependence usually results from the alternative mixtures and not from the hallucinogenic properties.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “people report using hallucinogenic drugs for more social or recreational purposes, including to have fun, help them deal with stress, or enable them to enter into what they perceive as a more enlightened sense of thinking or being.” Addictions may result from increased alterations in brain activity and psychological dependence based on mental health status, chemical variations, and environmental factors.
Consequences of Hallucinogens Use
Hallucinogen abuse can cause significant adverse consequences. Users often suffer psychological consequences of severe depression, anxiety disorders, antisocial disorders, psychosis, paranoia, suicidal or harmful tendencies, and other cognitive or social impairments.
If the user has a “bad trip” they can have frightening hallucinations that may lead to panic and other harmful consequences. PCP is often associated with violent and harmful tendencies and because of impaired judgment, many individuals find themselves in dangerous situations and have no idea where they are or how they got there.
Impaired coordination and other psychomotor controls can lead to accidental injuries or death. Physical health effects are a serious concern for chronic hallucinogen users. The drugs may elevate body temperature to the point of dehydration or hyperthermia or cause fluctuations in heart rate and respirations which can lead to overdoses, seizures, coma, heart attacks, and death. Chronic abuse can cause disregard for physical health and lead to malnutrition or other physical disorders.
Long term consequences include flashbacks, persistent psychosis, or Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) which may be mistaken for a neurological disorder such as stroke or brain tumor.